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Bow to the Master; Motoring Myles.

Byline: Paul Myles

PRIVATE car sales may be slowing down but vans and trucks are taking off as businesses try to get the UK back to work.

Vans such as Renault's cavernous Master series are good enough to succeed on their driving merits alone.

I tested the long-wheelbase version with the punchy 143bhp 2.3-litre turbo diesel engine.

More importantly for a true load lugger, the CDi125 boasts a whopping 229ft/lb of pulling torque, which grants it a huge payload of 1,530kg while returning a creditable 30-plus miles to the gallon in mixed city driving. But what does this mean in practice? Well, I loaded it up to the gunwales with my daughter's belongings for a move to a new flat and the Master didn't notice the weight at all.

Loading is as joyous as it can ever be with two large sliding side doors and full width and height rear doors that easily unhinge to fold out of the way of a hardpressed father lugging a sofa bed. After all that sweating, the sheer ease of driving is a blessing made even better by a three-seater cabin with supportive seats, excellent air-con and a top-notch hi-fi with MP3/iPod connectivity.

The van also features handsfree Bluetooth, 16w doormounted side repeaters and a trip computer. Extras can push the price up to pounds 25,659.

Sure it's a little bit costly but this is a van that could go some way to getting business back on its feet.

Model of vehicle

Engine 2.3 CDi

Power 143bhp

Top Speed 115mph

0-60mph 12.5secs

Economy 30mpg(claim)

Insurance 14E

Price pounds 24,562
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Apr 17, 2011
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